Berri says ‘something big’ is behind the obstruction of Lebanon government formation


berri-1Even Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri  cant’ figure out who  is behind blocking Lebanon government formation .

He reportedly  voiced concern that “something big” might be blocking the formation of the new government .

He also   condemned the latest fiasco that followed the nomination of Jawad Adra as a so-called consensus minister to represent Hezbollah’s Sunni MPs .

“I’m afraid that something big might be behind the obstruction but it is still unclear to me. It is something bigger than the issue of the Consultative Gathering ( Hezbollah’s Sunni MPs group )  and deeper than the issue of portfolios,” Berri told al-Joumhouria newspaper in remarks published Monday.

“The issue of portfolios ended long time ago and PM-designate (Saad) Hariri himself said that only the names of Hezbollah’s ministers were missing… but the past days confirmed that the matter has nothing to do with the party or its candidates, knowing that I personally have not submitted the names of the ministers of the Development and Liberation bloc,” the Speaker added.

Asked whether foreign interference is blocking the new government, Berri said: “In light of what we are witnessing and what has happened, I do not rule out this possibility and the issue seems to be very big.”

Bassil blamed for impasse

The Hezbollah led March 8 forces are blaming   Free Patriotic Movement chief MP Jebran Bassil for the latest setback in the cabinet formation process, according to media reports .

“Bassil insisted on considering the candidate Jawad Adra as a member of his ministerial bloc, which eventually pushed the Consultative Gathering to withdraw its nomination of Adra,” informed sources  told Asharq al-Awsat daily in remarks published Sunday.

Adra’s nomination as a consensus candidate came as an attempt to resolve a long-running standoff over the representation of Hezbollah’s Sunni MPs in the government.

The sources say two new obstacles have emerged.

“The second obstacle is Bassil’s attempt to get a Maronite minister from the Lebanese Forces’ share, which would leave the LF with a single Maronite seat, something that has been strongly rejected by the LF,” the sources said.

“The third obstacle surfaced after Bassil tried to swap portfolios in order to get the environment portfolio, a move that was met by strong rejection from Speaker Nabih Berri,” the sources added.

And noting that “Bassil is seeking to get 11 ministers, or a one-third veto power, in the government,” senior March 8 sources told the newspaper that Bassil has torpedoed the Adra “settlement,” accusing the FPM chief of “blocking the formation of the government for the past five months.”

No hurry

A member of the Consultative Gathering  told Asharq al-Awsat that the grouping is “not in a hurry” to name a new candidate pending solutions to the two other obstacles created by Bassil .

“Speech is silver and silence is golden.”

” Meanwhile Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri on Sunday posted a tweet about the stalled government formation process.

“Sometimes silence is necessary so that the others listen,” said Hariri in a brief tweet.

The PM-designate was apparently expressing dismay over the successive hurdles that have delayed the formation of the new government.

According to analysts the “something big” that Berri is talking about is Iran.

One analysts told Ya Libnan   : “Lets not kid ourselves  :  Iran controls  Hezbollah which in turn controls Bassil and the consultative  Gathering.”

The analyst asserted that “Iran does not want  a government in Lebanon yet , wants to use the Lebanon card to get concessions from the west to counter the sanctions imposed by the US”.

“What is very strange”  the analyst added : Berri should know this because he too is controlled by Iran

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